Written by Professor Lim Tit Meng
Email to his staff at the Science Centre in Singapore, http://science.edu.sg
Meeting Dean Kamen in Manchester, New Hampshire, is an incredible experience that I will never forget for life and will recount fondly with a sense of awe, respect, inspiration, and more.
It was a real treat yesterday to be guided by him on a tour of his house, singularly sitting on the highest mount estate in Manchester, owned entirely by him. Stepping through the main door triggered a jaw drop reaction and immediate excitement because it was like entering a science museum. It’s unbelievable that he has personally, purposefully and thoughtfully designed it with a full array of workshops and tools, libraries of books, collections of amazing machines, toys, gadgets, art pieces, and priceless items that are out of this world! He flies his private helicopter and drives a Porsche with the number plate that reads ‘Live free or die”!
Dean is the inventor best known for his Segway Human Transporter. He is a genius and to describe him and tell his stories past, present and future, will take more than 1001 nights. Talking and listening to him is a contagious encounter. In his trademark blue denim shirt and blue jean (size 30), he shares his ideas with passion and conviction, bringing you into a world of wonders and possibilities– possibilities to use science and technology to help people lead better lives; and more significantly, to help transform minds and promote gracious professionalism among the youths, bringing hope for the future.
He is the founder of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), with the goal of creating an institute that would make science and technology every bit as attractive, accessible, rewarding, and fun as sports. FIRST events (robotic competitions) are like love fest of technology and hope. They are a powerful cultural change agent that should be embraced and celebrated worldwide. It is not about winning but about being your best and sharing the best of what you know and can do.
Our visit to FIRST will see a follow through as we wish to share their platform to turn Singapore kids into gracious ‘coopertitors’ in life, based on Dean’s patented ‘coopertition‘ concept and process, meaning cooperation in competition. Life is not a zero sum game, and it is possible to live in a win-win relationship even with your keenest competitors. It will be a paradigm shift for our very competitive students to learn how to excel not at the expense of others but through mutual encouragement and help to scale new heights together.